Companies have always created societal value in the course of doing business. They provide people with the goods and services they need. They contribute taxes to the economy. They create jobs and wealth, and by doing so, they have played a significant part in helping to lift hundreds of millions out of poverty.
Yet that positive contribution to society comes at a price. In the course of doing business, companies also draw on the natural resources of the planet and can have negative effects on people and the environment.
As a result, the role of business is increasingly being scrutinized, debated and challenged. This is happening all the more as the world globalizes and people become wealthier and more connected. As a business community, we need to be aware of this trend and respond to it.